Duty-Free boost steering Stena Line back on course

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*Huge demand from passengers keen to take advantage of onboard discounts

Duty free shopping is making a big impact as it proves popular with passengers once again on routes between Ireland and Wales. Early sales figures show the huge potential it has to help the travel sector bounce back after the pandemic. Nowhere has the boost from duty free become more apparent than at Swedish ferry company Stena Line, where spend per passenger in its onboard shops saw a fourfold increase in August, on routes where passengers can now enjoy tax free shopping.

With duty-free shopping back onboard it has meant lucky passengers can now access large discounts of up to 50% off on a wide range of items such as whiskeys, vodkas, gins, wines, beers and champagnes. The removal of COVID-19 travel restrictions by Ireland meant that August was the first month where full tourist and non-essential travel with Britain was permitted. The response was instant, with high demand for sailings from people desperate to travel after so long in lockdown and keen to make the most of what was left of summer. The demand for duty free was equally high, resulting in the spend per passenger in Stena Line’s onboard shops more than quadrupling compared to pre-pandemic levels in August 2019. 

Commenting on the development Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Irish Sea Trade Director said: “Like most travel businesses we have experienced a very difficult time over the last 18 months, but now as our passengers start to return in large numbers, we are delighted to be in a position to offer them the added benefit of duty-free shopping on our ships for the first time in over 20 years.  Our expanded onboard shops now offer a great range of items from spirits to jewellery, fragrances to electrics, some at over 50% cheaper than high street prices.”

Duty free shopping is now available to any passengers on Stena Line’s services between Holyhead – Dublin and Fishguard – Rosslare, where the company’s large, modern vessels have newly refitted and expanded shops.